Hannibal made his TV acting debut in 1963 on “CBS Repertoire Workshop,” narrating the story of the historical Dred Scott Supreme Court case. He went on to star in several variety shows, including “Hannibal’s Trunk.” Hannibal guested on series including “Dragnet,” “Adam 12” and “Mission Impossible” and appeared in films including “Airport,” “Fools,” “The Strangers in 7A” and “The Grasshopper.” In 1975, he starred in the Italian cult film “Superuomini, superdonne, superbotte” (known by various English titles including “Three Fantastic Supermen”) as a gladiator superhero.
In 1976 he produced and starred in a variety show called “On the Strip,” live from Las Vegas.
As a singer, he headlined nightclubs across North America in the 1960s, once opening for Phyllis Diller at Gaslight Square in St. Louis, and headlined The Sands and Union Plaza hotels in Las Vegas in the 1970s. He recorded two albums: the first, eponymously titled disc was for Philips, the second, “Night Times,” for independent label First American. In 2002 his song “Forever Is a Long, Long Time” was sampled by Royce Da 5’9″ for the latter’s song “Boom,” which appeared on the album “Rock City (version 2.0)” as well as on the soundtrack of MTV’s 2001 telepic “Hip Hopera: Carmen.” Hannibal’s music career was chronicled in the book “The First Book of Oregon Jazz, Rock and All Sorts of Music” by Carolan Gladden.
Frank Charles Hannibal Jr. was born in St. Louis. After graduating from Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland, Ore., as a star basketball player, he served briefly in the Army. In 1954, Hannibal was recruited by the Harlem Globetrotters and toured with the team for two years. He then played with Marques Haynes’ barnstorming team, the Harlem Magicians.
Hannibal is survived by three daughters and a son.